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Annual Frontier Report 2022


Annual Frontier Report 2022: Relevance

  • GS 3: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


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Annual Frontier Report: Context

  • Recently, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has released the Annual Frontier Report 2022 with the name Noise, Blazes and Mismatches: Emerging Issues of Environmental Concern.


Annual Frontier Report UNEP: Important chapters

  • Listening to Cities: From Noisy Environments to Positive Soundscapes
  • Wildfires Under Climate Change: A Burning Issue
  • Phenology: Climate Change Is Shifting the Rhythm of Nature


Annual Frontier Report 2022: Key points

  • In the new report, UNEP has said that wildfires, noise pollution, and other looming environmental threats could cause widespread ecological damage, and need to be urgently addressed.
  • The report draws attention to emerging environmental concerns with the potential to wreak regional or global havoc, if not addressed early.
  • The report highlights the urgent need to address the triple planetary crisis of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss.


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Annual Frontier Report 2022: Key highlights

Noise pollution

  • Noise pollution has been termed as “a raucous killer” as unwanted, prolonged, and high-level sounds from road traffic, railways, or leisure activities, impair human health and well-being.
  • Moreover, chronic annoyance and sleep disturbance caused by traffic can result in severe heart diseases and metabolic disorders with the very young, and mostly affect the elderly and marginalised communities near busy roads.



  • Phenology is the timing of recurring life cycle stages, driven by environmental forces, and how species interacting within an ecosystem, respond to changing conditions.
  • Plants and animals in terrestrial, aquatic and marine ecosystems use temperature, day length or rainfall as cues for when to bear fruit, migrate or transform in other ways.
  • Climate change, however, disrupts these natural rhythms as plants and animals are being pushed out of sync with their natural rhythms, leading to mismatches, such as when plants shift life cycle stages faster than herbivores.
  • Local climatic signals that trigger migration for birds may no longer accurately predict conditions at their destination and resting sites along the route.
  • Moreover, in crops, phenological shifts in seasonal variations challenge food production.


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  • The report has highlighted that between 2002 and 2016, an average of 423 million hectares of the land surface – about the size of the European Union – have burned.
  • The report further project that the dangerous wildfires will likely become more frequent, intense, and longer lasting, including in areas previously unaffected by fires.
  • Climate change can also prompt extreme wildfires, generating lightning that can ignite other fires.
  • Long-term effects on human health extend beyond those who have been directly affected by the wildfires like those fighting wildfires or the evacuated or those who have lost homes. Wildfires also exacerbate impacts among those with pre-existing illness, women, children, the elderly, and the poor.
  • Moreover, black carbon and other pollutants generated from wildfires can contaminate water sources, speed up glacier melt, trigger landslides and turn rainforests into carbon sinks.


Annual Frontier Report 2022: Recommendations of the report

  • For noise pollution: The report encourages urban planners to prioritise noise reduction by investing in urban infrastructure that creates positive soundscapes such as tree belts, green walls, and more green spaces in cities.
  • For phenological shift: The report highlights the importance of conservation goals, such as maintaining suitable habitats and ecological connectivity, strengthening the integrity of biological diversity, and coordinating international efforts along migratory routes.
  • For wildfires: The report calls for greater investment in reducing wildfire risks; developing prevention and response management approaches; and refinancing remote sensing capabilities.


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